Few shows are as outrageously raucous as "The Boys" on Amazon Prime Video. The third season of the gritty superhero show is airing now, and already it's scarred fans with imagery of an exploding penis and the highly anticipated Herogasm event. Based on a fan-favorite arc of "The Boys" comics, "Herogasm" saw various groups going to an orgy for C-list Supes, complete with a mile-long male member, sex toys manipulated in various creative ways, a touch of bestiality, and a whole lot of other things I'd get in trouble for writing down here.
Speaking of getting in trouble, it turns out "The Boys" was partially responsible for Amazon forming a Standards & Practice division to make sure no lines were crossed. Standards & Practices keeps an eye on productions to ensure everything stays in line; the S&P department at Disney, for example, is pretty notorious for putting restrictions on projects to fit its family-friendly image. Amazon never had one of these departments in the past . . . and then along came "The Boys."
"I still remember the call, which [was] like, 'Can you guys come in? Because we have to start a Standards & Practices department,' in part because of us," showrunner Eric Kripke recalled to TV Line (via CBR.com). "It was Season 1, and then I think there was like one other show that caused a problem for them. I'll wear it as a badge of honor that I helped start their Standards department."
It should come as no surprise that "Herogasm" caused Amazon people to squirm a little bit; in particular, the scene where The Deep (Chace Crawford) got it on with an octopus caused some pretty understandable concern.
"The discussion of that scene and how we pulled off that scene actually triggered a lot of alarm bells at a lot of different levels at Amazon because you're not supposed to show people f**king animals, and I get it," Kripke said. "But my pitch to them was always like it's so absurd [that] it wouldn't be out of place in a Farrelly brothers movie. So it's hard to call it prurient bestiality. It's ridiculous. To my knowledge, I don't even think octopi have orifices down there. So there was a lot of discussion of like what are the shots, and what can we do and what can we get away with?"
With a show like "The Boys," there's no doubt that Standards & Practices will get put through its paces plenty more times. Ironically though, the show actually got an award from PETA for its depiction of a CGI octopus earlier in the season. We can only wait to see how the animal rights group reacts to The Deep's latest bit of cephalopod quality time.
Producing "Herogasm" was a "f**king nightmare"
When it comes to the most talked about moments of "The Boys" Season 3, "Herogasm" seems sure to be near the top. Hopefully that made the difficulty of production worth it.
"I'll say logistically, producing them, they're f**king nightmares," the showrunner told Syfy Wire. "When you have dozens of naked people simulating sex acts during COVID [while] also making sure that it's a completely locked down, professional, safe and appropriate set, is really scary and challenging. We had tons of intimacy coordinators and COVID safety officers and just making sure that it's a place where everyone can feel comfortable is really, really challenging. But then again, I'm in Los Angeles on Zoom and phone calls and I'm not in the middle of it like Karl [Urban] is."
Despite being "in the middle of it," Urban, who plays lead Billy Butcher, has been pleased with the focus "The Boys" has been placing on its characters. While Season 3 is more twisted than ever, Urban holds that the story has risen to match it in a way that keeps the show from feeling like it's just trying to shock audiences for the sake of it.
"What I found this season [is that] everything was dialed up in a really good way," Urban said. "I think what was dialed up was the interactions between the characters and the heart of the show because if you didn't have that, then it just becomes this vacuous exploration of violence and sex. The thing that draws people back to the show is the characters and they care about these characters and enjoy spending time with them and as long as we get that right, then it'll continue to be fun to watch."
Say one thing for "The Boys," it certainly is fun to watch.